Citizen group Protect PT has filed a legal challenge of the Penn Township Zoning Hearing Board’s approval of Apex Energy’s Quest natural gas well site.
On April 9, the Penn Township Zoning Hearing Board approved the special exception request by Apex Energy to conduct unconventional shale gas drilling at the Quest well site. In accordance with Protect PT’s mission statement, the group has challenged that decision by filing an appeal in Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas on Wednesday, April 22.
The Township’s ordinance requires special exception applications for drill sites to include air modeling and hydrogeological studies, stating that “the applicant shall have the burden to demonstrate that its operations will not affect the health, safety or welfare of the citizens of Penn Township.” The Board voted to approve the well site application even though Apex did not include the required studies.
“The Board not only violated the ordinance, but it failed to satisfy its constitutional obligation to ensure that its decisions do not deprive any person’s right to a clean environment. The Environmental Rights Amendment of our constitution requires government officials to have and review possible impacts to the environment before they approve an activity.” said Oday Salim of Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services, who along with Megan Lovett represents the group.
“The Board should have insisted on receiving and evaluating the studies before making a decision.” said Protect PT President, Gillian Graber.
Protect PT will continue working to ensure there are protections for the residents of Penn Township and the neighboring communities in order to make the community a safer, healthier place to live. We encourage the community to help by donating through our website protectpt.org